Boston Bruins

Bruins notice goalie interference calls on the rise

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Bruins notice goalie interference calls on the rise

While the NHL Director of Officiating Terry Gregson contends theres been no change to the way officials are enforcing goaltender interference infractions this season, the Bruins have noticed a high level of calls in their first two weeks worth of games.

There were a pair of important and controversial goalie interference calls that took place in Saturdays 1-0 Bruins win over the Leafs, but most people were talking about the goaltender interference call on Ottawa from Sunday nights game between the Senators and Canadiens.

The call in the MontrealOttawa game came as video replays showed that Carey Price was outside his crease, and wiped out a potential game-tying goal for Andre Benoit in the third period.

Likewise a Cody Franson game-tying score for the Maple Leafs was wiped out in the first period when Tuukka Rask was bumped outside of the crease by Nazem Kadri, and that caused a healthy amount of uproar in Canada.

There have been four goaltender interference calls for two-minute minor penalties in Bostons first eight games, and at least three goals have been wiped out for incidental contact including two scores Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre.

Perhaps Tuukka Rask is the wrong person to ask about it on the Bruins when looking for an impartial observer, but the Bruins goaltender doesnt seem to mind being protected very much.

I havent seen that many. I saw a couple in our games, but I dont know if theyre keeping a closer eye on them or not, said Rask, who is 5-1-1 with a 2.10 goals against average and a .919 save percentage. Calls have been made during play. Sometimes theyre questionable and sometimes theyre not. I know I got called out for saying I was flopping around.

I know its a difficult challenge for referees because some goalies like to challenge the shot and come out of the crease a little bit. Then they get bumped and its tough to not make that call. Its a fine line. Im sure the refs have been told to keep an eye on those because its always a close call.

The Bruins havent been hosed, to use some Canadian parlance, by the goaltending interference calls, but one of the plays from Saturday nights win in Toronto was the same sequence that led to Brad Marchands injury. Toronto goalie James Reimer kicked out his leg pad as Marchand crashed the net, and Marchand tripped over the pad into the end boards.

Tyler Seguin eventually scored what appeared to be an insurance goal after a puck deflected off his body into the net during an ensuing scramble seconds later, but it was waved off because of the incidental contact earlier in the play with Marchand. Claude Julien said theres been a bigger pattern of more penalties being called this season across the NHL.

Some of increased penalty calls might have to do with players not in optimal game condition cheating more in the first few weeks of the season, and referees that are paying closer attention to a number of different things.

But Julien has definitely observed the orange safety cones practically installed just outside the goalie crease area.

We all know that there are a lot of penalties being called given the adjustments to the rules and youre seeing it all over. You look at the penalty killing column in league stats and almost every team is in the same area with X amount of penalties. So its consistent throughout the league, said Julien. Just look at our game in Toronto. To be bluntly honest it was questionable on Tuukka and it was extremely questionable on Brad Marchand. Reimer sticks his pad out and trips Marchand outside of the crease and then we scored.

Theyre very sensitive to that. Its not just us. Its all around the league. Maybe theyre sending a message to everyone to stay away from the goaltenders and then theyll soften up a bit once we start being a little better about it.

If teams continue to get whistled for goaltender interference on plays when the keeper is clearly outside the crease, then expect that march to the penalty box to continue for the rest of the shortened NHL campaign.

Beleskey happy to return from foot injury

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Beleskey happy to return from foot injury

BRIGHTON, Mass – It was absolutely an “uh-oh” moment for Matt Beleskey when he was hit on the foot with a shot Monday night in the Bruins' preseason opener against the Canadiens. Beleskey, 29, was just hoping that his foot wasn’t broken in what would have been another shot of bad luck coming off a tough season for the hard-nosed winger, so his hopes have been answered given his presence in the lineup for the preseason game Saturday night vs. the Detroit Red Wings.

Beleskey missed the past two preseason games and most of the practice time as well but returned to the ice on Friday before getting ready for tonight's game. With plenty to prove while coming off a down second season in Boston, Beleskey knows he needs a strong camp that can’t get derailed by injuries or assorted bumps and bruises.

“I definitely did not want a broken foot to start the year, so I’m glad that I was fine,” said Beleskey, who finished with three goals and eight points along with a minus-10 in 49 games last season. “I took a puck in the face during warm-ups and the shot to the foot in the third, so that’s quite a good start to the year. But hopefully, I’ve got those out of the way now.

“I felt really good in the last game. It was great to see some of the work I did in the summertime paying off, so now we build on that [against Detroit] and keep things moving. There are a lot of great players here [in camp] and there’s great competition. I’m just here to play my game and prove myself, and I’ve got all the confidence in the world I can do that.”

Now that he’s been given a full bill of health again, Beleskey will get just that chance skating with Sean Kuraly and Ryan Fitzgerald on Saturday night in Hockeytown amid a deeply competitive situation for Boston’s third line. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings for the Bruins against the Red Wings in Boston’s fourth game of the preseason:

DeBrusk-Krejci-Pastrnak
Vatrano-Czarnik-Purcell
Beleskey-Kuraly-Fitzgerald
Schaller-Szwarz-Senyshyn

Miller-McAvoy
Grzelcyk-McQuaid
O’Gara-Zboril

McIntyre
Subban


 

Morning Skate: Sean Avery vs. Tortorella

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Morning Skate: Sean Avery vs. Tortorella

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while amazed at what has united Lebron James and Steph Curry in this wacky country of ours.

*Sean Avery has some brutal things to say about John Tortorella in his new “screaming for attention” book, but then again Avery is one of the biggest low-talent dirtbags that the NHL has ever seen. So you probably need to consider the source.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) John Shannon has a few thoughts on where the NHL needs to go in their relationship with China now that they’ve played preseason games there.

*Pro Hockey Talk has the details as Steven Stamkos stood out in his preseason debut and the first game back from last season’s injury.

*The NHL has yet to determine whether or not Marian Hossa is eligible for LTIR with a skin issue that is expected to be career-ending.

*PK Subban talks about his rule of thumb while staying away from controversy with an active social media account.

*Mark your calendars for the annual Comics Come Home event on Nov. 18 to raise money for the Cam Neely Foundation. Here Neely talks with SI about his friendships with a number of local comics, and how the comedy event became a tradition in Boston.   

*For something completely different: Today marks the 40th anniversary of David Bowie’s classic “Heroes”, so it feels like a good time to get the story behind it.